Qualities of a good dept head?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Cyndi23, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. Cyndi23

    Cyndi23 Companion

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    Jul 27, 2008

    I have been "voted in" this year as dept head and am nervous at the prospect. What qualities do you look for? For those of you who have had the job or have had an awesome leader, what made them so great?
     
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  3. Ghost

    Ghost Habitué

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    Jul 27, 2008

    objectivity, give praise where credit is due, make suggestions for improvement privately, be available---those are what I like.
     
  4. Annie227

    Annie227 Companion

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    Organization!
    Also, someone who can keep meetings short & sweet. Our team leader always has a short agenda (just the things that need to be addressed at that point) and sticks to it. We all get along and spend time together outside of meetings/school & we know that meetings=business, they're not get together and chat time.
     
  5. slinkytoy

    slinkytoy Rookie

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    I agree with keeping meetings short and sweet. Our dept head brings food, tells inspirational stories, and goes over what everyone is doing in their classes. That takes up to an hour some times! I know she is trying to be a good leader, but after a long school day, I just want to go home. Other teachers feel the same as I do! We just haven't said anything because we all like our dept. head; we just hate her meetings!!!
     
  6. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Don't be afraid to be a leader! I get so tired of going to meetings where nobody seems to be in charge, and it ends up taking forever. I'm not saying be bossy-- I'm saying be decisive.
     
  7. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    First of all, congratulations! You've got a great opportunity to grow professionally. The qualities I admire are objectivity, willingness to "go to the mat" for your department, open-mindedness to new ideas, and a good sense of humor. I second the recommendations to be organized and have a sense of purpose. We had one department chair who would schedule a meeting and then say she really didn't have anything to talk about, and that drove me crazy! Our new chair always has an agenda, and if there's no pressing business, he'll schedule a presentation from one of us on a topic of interest. No one wants to feel like the meeting they're obligated to attend is a waste of time. :)
     
  8. ArizonaTchr72

    ArizonaTchr72 Companion

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    As a new teacher, I wish my department head had checked in with me more during the year. I kind of felt left alone. She didn't bother to check in on me until state testing time and then I felt it was too late. I would recommend that you are available to your new teachers especially.
     
  9. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    * provide communication from admin to department in a timely manner (last I year, I informed our dept head we were hiring a new person. He had no idea)
    * should have curriculum for all teachers in all subjects (we have a new teacher this coming school year; he wanted to get an early start with planning. I had to provide curriculum to him in a subject I haven't taught for 4 years because our dept head only had his subject area)
    * as others have mentioned, have an agenda at meetings. We are required to hold dept meetings once a month. We never do anything at this meetings except talking about sports. I get so very angry at this wasted time.
    * let your dept know how much money that have to spend and the proper procedures to purchase with those funds
    *keep open and running communication with all dept members

    can you tell I don't really like my dept head
     
  10. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Organized and Knowledgable. Those are my two top desired skills in a department head. Decisive and fair come in a close 3rd and 4th.
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    We don't call it "department head", but it's the same thing . . . and I've been "it" for several years.

    I've been told people like me to be it because I'm organzied, responsible, and tactful. Nobody's ever mentioned this one, but I would add knowing when you're out of your "area of expertise". I've had a couple of instances when I needed administration to step in because I would have been going into administrative territory . . . and I didn't need to be there.
     
  12. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Don't let them see you sweat! Remember to ask your people about their concerns that needed to be addressed. Have fun and remember YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR. Nothing worse than a head nodding meeting, due to the Dept. Head being so boring.
    Remember to FEED THE PEOPLE. It can help set a relaxed atmosphere and people are prone to get involved in the meetings when their stomach(es?) are not growling.:eek: Give PRAISE and THANKS to those who have earned it. Oh! How about an AWARD for the MOST OUTSTANDING TEACHER or whatever award you'd like to have at every meeting? That ought to pump up the gals/guys for a while.
    Later,
    R1
     
  13. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Will you be my new boss?
     
  14. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    I admire leads that don't gossip and don't bring baggage to the table. Someone decisive and positive. Someone that is our cheer leader of sorts. This is a good thread because this is my 4th year as lead and this year I have a brand new team of teachers and want to do well.
     
  15. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    I would say doing your job period! Lol, it's only my second year this year, but my dept head goes to the meeting that's once a 9 weeks and that's it. he just kind of lets everyone else pick up all the other jobs. which i guess is fine because we all rock at doing it. but at the same time, he gets paid extra to do things that he doesn't do!
     
  16. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    That stinks :(
     
  17. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    How am I supposed to feed these people! Forget it! Since two of them are now members of this forum, they can read it here first--I ain't feeding you. (Feel free, however, to feed me.)

    I truly think being organized is priority number 1. You've got to get any messages out there quickly. And figure out ahead of time what can be done through e-mail.

    Delegate so that everyone feels like they are part of a team.

    Encourage sharing of good ideas, great lessons, resources, etc.

    Don't encourage complaining. We don't have time.

    Check and ask about all students that are having problems. You need to foster the idea that no teacher is in it by themselves.

    Keep everyone on task and focused. At times, it's impossible, and when that occurs, tell them we'll meet tomorrow instead. That ought to do the trick.

    If it is during a planning period, let them have five minutes to go use the restroom, make a quick call, etc. before the meeting officially begins. Then begin on time, even if everyone isn't there. You don't have time to wait on stragglers, and I don't want to meet after school.
     
  18. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Oh, and don't let your mood dictate the mood of the meeting.

    (My team mates will like that one. I get exasperated easily when we get off task, and I'm afraid I show it. I'll be working on that one this year.)
     
  19. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I have been a department head for 2 years now, this will be my third.(A good one, I think?)
    What I have learned:
    1. Have some sort of curriculm setup, we just have a list of required units and topics. From there we have binders for each unit that the department share with activities, readings, etc. In many areas in MA atleast there is some lee way in how in depth you go for some topics.
    2. Don't be hypocritical. If you make a policy for your department, you must follow it as well. I require that lesson plans be turned in and posted as a weekly agenda in the department office, I never miss a week doing so, as I require my teachers to do so.
    3. Now the expectations of you by the administration. I am not sure if you are required to, but I have to complete evaluations of the HS and MS social studies teachers (over thirty of them).
    4. Let other teachers have a say in department policy and meetings. Always ask for other teacher's input.
    5. Don't be afrid to take charge. I have a problem with this, if things get out of hand remember you are their supervisor.
    6. Be organized. Have an agenda for EVERY meeting, inservice, etc. Make sure that you have a filling system in place for all departmental items, including shared resources, papers, etc. Make this accesible to teachers.
    7. Check in on new teachers. Make new teachers feel that if they need help you are there. Ask them if there is anything you can do.

    If you need any more specific help please do not hesitate to ask.
     
  20. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Communication!! Ours never tells us what other math departments in other schools find out. If you have email, just email once a week to check in and share information.

    Be yourself--that always works.

    Value others ideas.
     

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